Sunday, November 18, 2012

Fiery Turkey

Hello, friends!

Happy Thanksgiving week to you. I hope all of you are enjoying the days before the big turkey day.

You know that scene in Home for the Holidays, where the dad, Charles Durning, sneaks downstairs in the middle of the night and digs into the pumpkin pie while everyone’s sleeping? Well, I’ve done my own version of that this holiday. I bought drink supplies this weekend for the big day (I’m planning on making these elaborate pumpkin pie shots that you set on fire for Thursday), and ended up dipping into the bourbon and cinnamon schnapps to make a pre-Thankgiving cocktail. And it turned out pretty delicious. The cinnamon schnapps has a delightful kick. Now the trouble will be to hold off making more of these until Thursday!

I decided to call this drink The Fiery Turkey. Though, no worries. There’s no part of the turkey that actually goes into it. It’s just named that after the Wild Turkey bourbon, a great liquor to use in honor of Thanksgiving.

Anyway, here’s the recipe. This is an excellent drink for the chef to have during a long day of cooking. It also works equally as well for guests before the big feast, or, if you’re like me, a few days in advance of the big feast ;).

Fiery Turkey

2.5 ounces of Apple Juice/Cider (The higher quality stuff you find in the fruit section of the grocery store is recommended.)
2 ounces of Wild Turkey bourbon
¾ ounce of Cinnamon Schnapps

Place all ingredients in a cocktail filled with ice. Shake, shake, shake until your hands are too cold to continue. Strain into a pre-rimmed cocktail glass. Enjoy the kick!

To rim the glasses: Mix a couple of tablespoons of sugar with a sprinkling of cinnamon and allspice. Moisten the edge of the martini glass with a slice of lemon, then dip the rim into the sugar/cinnamon/allspice mixture until it’s covered. This adds a really sweet flavor to the spicy kick at the end of the drink.

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you all have a wonderful holiday with your families.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Demon Resurrection Free through Nov. 1

On a more cheerful note, I forgot to mention that Demon Resurrection, the first book in the Samantha Carver Saga, will be on Amazon for free starting this evening and lasting through Nov. 1. Get it HERE while you can! A great zombie read for Halloween!

Selling Books (Or Not)

Hello there, Friends!
It has been quite a long while. Sorry to drop off the face of the earth like that. Sometimes you just need a break to rejuvenate. I needed a few months to do that and to work on a few other things, so that’s why I haven’t written anything for a while.
Let’s see, since I last wrote, not a whole lot has changed, and yet, at the same time, a lot has. I’ve been working on a horror series for kids under a pen name, so that’s what’s been occupying most of my time. It’s been pretty fun, but I’m looking forward to once again picking up some of my previous projects that I had to put on hiatus. One of which, namely, is the Samantha Carver Saga.
I’m not going to lie. The Samantha Carver Saga has not been a great success in terms of sales. That’s the honest truth. As a writer, and an ebook publisher, I’ve got to consider this when I think about what I want to put my time towards. My ultimate goal is to make a living from my career as an author, and spending time writing a third book in a series that doesn’t do very well isn’t the smartest decision. However, I’m letting you know right now that I’m not leaving the series unfinished. For the few of you out there who have been waiting (there’s not many of you, but I sooo appreciate the support of those who have been, and I apologize for making you wait!), the third installment will get published sometime in 2013. I’d feel defeated if I didn’t finish the series, and almost more importantly, I feel like I can’t leave my characters in limbo like that. It would just be wrong.
I think it’s good to be honest and not be in denial about books not doing well. I don’t think just because your books don’t sell a lot that it makes you any less of a writer. Failing provides a good learning opportunity, and I’ll be able to take some of the things I’ve learned from this and hopefully turn it into a success.
I’ve also been thinking a lot about the nature of success. It’s important not to give up. Way easier said than done. For some reason, you always expect success immediately, and if it doesn’t come that soon, you start feeling like a failure. That’s a stupid feeling to give in to. Sometimes, it takes a little longer for things to work themselves out, and in the meantime, you just have to keep chipping away at it.
That’s what I’m planning to do. Maybe The Samantha Carver Saga won’t ever be a success, but at the very least, it’s a stepping stone to success. I’ve learned a lot from writing this series, and I know I’ve got a lot more books and other series in me.
That’s what I’ve been thinking the past few months. It’s much easier to give up than to continue on, but the ones who are persistent and determined are the ones who get what they want. Besides, I’m doing what I love -- writing books -- so that can’t be wrong, no matter how few books I sell.
So I’ll leave you for the time being on that note. I'll have more information soon about my next series and when it will published (at this point, probably in January). The next post (and I promise to make it soon) I’ll make a cocktail of some kind. It’s been far too long since we’ve had a drink, friends!

Saturday, July 14, 2012


Hello, friends!

It’s been a while. Quite a long while. Which, I think is probably a good sign for a writer. When you see long gaps between blog postings, a lot of times it means that the writer has been hard at work on their next project.

For me, the past few months have been a mix of work and play. Earlier this month, I celebrated my 25th birthday. I had family and friends who made the day so special. I went kayaking, drank sangria, and watched some of my favorite movies. It was a wonderful time.

It’s crazy to suddenly be in my mid-twenties. Time goes so quickly! When I started my first real post-college job at the newspaper where I work, I was 22. I can hardly believe I’ve been in that industry for so long. And because people are always coming and going at my work place, it makes me feel extra old-timer-ish lately.

Birthdays are always a good time for reflection, and also for resolutions. I’ve been reflecting a lot lately. Sometimes it’s easy to look at your life, and have a feeling like you’re stuck and that you’re going nowhere. But if you break it down, you begin to realize that you’re not stuck. You’re always moving, even if it doesn’t look like it. I heard an analogy once that life is often like being on a ship crossing the ocean. You look out and see the view everyday, and you think to yourself "I’m not making any progress. The view looks the same." But this isn’t true. You’re moving, even if you can’t see the immediate progress. And then one day, you spot land in the distance, and you realize you’ve been on an epic journey the entire time.

When I break down the last few years of my life, I feel like I can see the subtle changes in the ocean view. It’s progress, even if it’s not always so easy to see.

As I look ahead now, I am so excited for my career as an author. Things are in the works, and I feel that the next year of my life is going to be very significant. I think by next July, I will see land.

I can’t tell you all the details yet because it’s not set in stone, but I am hard at work on a new series of books called The Cherry Mojito Mysteries. It’s a paranormal mystery series centering around a bartender who can see how and when someone is going to die. I’m also working on another project under a pen name, so I don’t have a solid ETA on the new series yet, but it will for sure be out before Christmas. I will post more updates as we get closer to publication.

I have a great feeling about the upcoming year. I think it’s going to be a spectacular one!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The "44" Cocktail

So in honor of Jools Sinclair's recent visit to my blog, I created a cocktail inspired by her books. This is called the "44," and it's named after Jools' wonderful series by the same name. It uses Crater Lake Vodka made by the Bend Distillery, a company based in the same town that the 44 series takes place. It also has black cherry juice, which gives it a kind of murky look -- I imagine kind of like the lake that Abby Craig drowns in at the beginning of the series. Also, it uses Earl Grey simple syrup, which is fitting because Abby and her sister Kate drink a lot of tea. Plus, I think the whole series has a very classic English ghost story feel to it, which the Earl Grey simple syrup represents.

So here's the recipe if you'd like to recreate the 44 at home. I think this would also be a killer drink for Halloween, if you're thinking that far ahead. Happy drinking!

The "44" Cocktail

2 ounces of Crater Lake Vodka
2 1/2 ounces of black cherry juice
1/2 ounce of Earl Grey simple syrup*

Add all the ingredients in cocktail shaker with lots of ice. Shake until well mixed and icy cold, then strain into a martini glass. Drink while reading the latest book in the 44 series. Bottoms up!

* To make the Earl Grey simple syrup, combine 1/2 a cup of sugar and 1/2 a cup of water in a saucepan. Simmer it until sugar grains dissolve completely. Add an Earl Grey tea bag to cooling syrup, and let steep. Keep refrigerated.

Next on the blog, I make an exciting announcement about my next book. Check back in soon!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Author Interview with Jools Sinclair

Hello, Friends!

It is my great, great honor to have author Jools Sinclair stop by the blog today. Jools is the author of the hugely popular 44 series, which takes place in Bend, OR. Her books are INCREDIBLE. If you haven’t read them yet, you can get the first one for free HERE.

Author Interview with Jools Sinclair:

You recently came out with Book 4 in the 44 series, how do you manage to keep the books so fresh and exciting?

Thank you, Allison! As I’m writing the 44 books, there still is a fresh energy to them as I think about the plot and write the dialogue and figure out what the characters are going to do in a particular story.  At this point, nothing seems boring to me or repetitive. It’s great to hear that readers think that too!. Abby’s story is still unfolding, and as long as that is happening, I think it keeps the series interesting. Plus all the new characters add an element of fun or mystery.

How do you continue to write those explosive endings? I feel like you get me every time.

That makes me smile! One of the things I try to do as a writer is keep the reader off balance a little. I know that when I read or watch movies,  that is the state I love and hope to be in. I don’t want to know what’s going to happen and I love being surprised. I love twists and turns and it’s always a goal in my writing to be able to take my readers for a fun ride.Tell me where we find Abby in the fourth book, and where you see her down the line in the rest of the series. In Book 4, Abby is back in Bend and busy creating a life, but by the end of the book she has also made a decision about how she sees herself in her world and who she is. I love that part of Book 4. I don’t want to say too much more, but it’s a pivotal part in her character development. I think as the series progresses, she’ll get stronger and stronger regarding who she is and what she brings to the world.

What inspired you to write the 44 series?

That’s a great question and I’m not really sure how to answer that fully. Bend, Oregon was an inspiration because I wanted to base a series here. I love living here and it’s an amazing setting. Perfect in a lot of ways.

Also, I’ve always been attracted to stories about psychic abilities, ghosts, and paranormal events, either in books or movies or TV shows. I love those types of stories so much and I’m sure they’ve inspired me over the years.

And finally, I guess having had one or two strange occurrences over the years was a bit of inspiration as well.

I’ve noticed that Abby has a very cool music (and movie!) taste. What kind of music do you listen to when you write? Does it play a big role in your writing?

Abby really does have cool music taste and I get A LOT of help with that! Haha! I have some peeps who are really into music and I rely on their expertise. And then, after they suggest something, I’m like, “Wow, that was incredible,” and I start listening nonstop. Case in point: Florence +the Machine, which is my new favorite. WOW, Florence is incredible and her music influenced 44 Book 4 a great deal. Because music seeps into the soul and influences areas that you can’t reach in other ways, I think it’s important to listen to it when I write. I can’t always write with lyrics though. When I’m in the first draft, and struggling, I find myself listening to the song playing instead of the words in my head. But when I’m hooked into the story and doing other drafts, I can listen to anything and everything and I do.

In Book 3, because it’s basically Nathaniel Mortimer’s story, I listened to opera and flamenco music. Nathaniel is very cultured, very serious, and I found that listening to his music put me in his mind and helped quite a lot, especially when it came to his dialogue.

In Book 4, I listened to music that Abby listens to, but later I found that a lot of Florence’s lyrics pertain also to the ghost story that presents itself in the book. In fact, it creeped my out a bit when I realized that so many of her lyrics and songs apply to the ghost story in Book 4, as well as to the 44 series in general.

At what point did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I was about five years old and had written a story about a dragon that the teacher loved and I was so excited about it and her response that I knew I wanted to be a writer then. Ha! I haven’t always written all these years, but growing up, being a successful writer was always my dream. It’s incredible to see it coming true.

What other authors have inspired you?

There are so many amazing authors out there and each one for a different reason. I tend to love writers that make me feel something. The genre doesn’t matter, although the only thing I really don’t like is Science Fiction. Everything else, if it’s written beautifully and it tells an interesting story, I’m in.  

What’s your creative process like? How does the book come to life?

This is such a great question, Allison! This is my process and it never seems to change.I get a few ideas and start thinking about them and talking about them. Sometimes something will strike me, a person I’ve met or a conversation I overheard. Or I’ll have a line that runs around in my head for days. 44 was like that. The line “I know I’m lucky” kept repeating itself in my head over and over and over while I was working on another story. I knew it wasn’t from any of the characters I was writing about at the time, and knew it was for a new book. It haunted me until I wrote it down and promised it I’d get back to it!

Then I sit down for that first draft. Ugh! Hard, hard stuff for me. During this time, I’m forcing everything. Forcing the plot, the characters, the scenes. I want to run from my computer, go clean the house or watch a movie or go for a walk or shop. It’s very hard to sit and write through this part. But…if I stick with it long enough, if I keep chasing that story, which mainly means putting in the hours, then something very magical happens. The story stops running away, turns around, and walks toward me. Suddenly I’m in the flow and the story weaves together, the characters write their own lines. It’s simply magic and one of the most amazing things. This is the time where the twists come in, and the surprise endings materialize, and the characters define themselves. From this point, I’m able to easily work 14 hour days and I often do up through the end until publication.

Bend, Oregon plays such a major role in your books. What are your favorite things to do there?

 Hiking the Green Lakes trail in September, kayaking down the Deschutes River through Old Mill, sitting outside Greg’s Grill in the summer with a tropical drink in hand, strolling along the downtown shops on an  art walk, eating an incredible Italian meal at Trattoria Sbandati, canoeing up at Hosmer Lake, snowshoeing around Mt. Bachelor, hiking along the river trail, wandering around the desolate Badlands, watching the fireworks on July 4th on Pilot Butte, hanging out drinking beer at Ten Barrel or Deschutes Pub, taking long walks up and down the hills of Awbrey Butte.

I love it here.

What advice would you give to other authors writing a young adult series?

Follow your bliss. It’s the best advice I’ve ever heard (Joseph Campbell) and it applies to everything.

If you’re a writer, make sure you love it and that it’s your bliss. Make sure that you love the process, that you love your characters. That your plot gives you goose bumps, that your scenes make your stomach drop in the middle of the night when you think about them. That you shake when write those emotional scenes. That you feel something very special, very intense, very satisfying deep down after putting in a long day with your words.If those things are happening for you, if you are following your bliss by being a writer, then you’re on that golden path and you’re already there. No advice needed. You have it. And you will succeed.

You are my hero, Jools! Thanks so much for stopping by!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Demon Revelation Free Memorial Day Weekend!

Hey, friends! Just a couple quick things. Demon Revelation, the second book in the Samantha Carver Saga, will be available from Amazon for free this Memorial Day weekend. Hoo-rah! So if you haven't gotten it yet, now's the time. It will be available for free HERE Saturday 5/26, Sunday 5/27 and Monday 5/28.

Also, in other exciting news, the very witty and talented YA paranormal author, Jools Sinclair, will be stopping by my blog for an exclusive interview this weekend to talk about her latest book in the incredible and amazing 44 series. Definitely not to be missed!

So go out and download Demon Revelation, and check back in soon!